Wrexham man jailed for life for murdering partner, 25

Image caption,
Brian Buckley must serve a minimum of 22 years in prison

A Wrexham man has been jailed for life, with a minimum of 22 years, after being convicted of murdering his partner in a "sustained and violent attack".

Brian Buckley, 41, punched Leah Ingham repeatedly, head-butting her at least twice before texting a friend to say he would not be in the work the next day because of what he had done.

It took a jury at Mold Crown Court less than two hours to return the verdict.

Ms Ingham's family said: "Our lives will never be the same again."

In a statement they added: "We will have to live with this horrendous crime for the rest of our lives."

In court, a victim impact statement from Ms Ingham's mother, Heather Harvey, was read to the judge.

She said: "He should have owned up to his crime instead of putting everyone through so much pain."

She added: "We all feel such pain. It just won't go away. It never will.

"It seems such a tragic waste of life."

Speaking about the effect on her grandchildren, Ms Harvey said: "At the moment they are too young to understand what has happened.

"I cannot imagine what their heart-break will be like when they are old enough to know the circumstances of their mother's death."

Buckley launched his brutal attack as the couple's two children slept upstairs, after an argument about drugs, and the fact she had started a new relationship with another man.

The jury had been told how warehouse worker Buckley sent a message saying: "I'm going jail n e way mate" and "Just killed Leah".

Image caption,
Buckley searched his former partner for drugs after he had killed her

Buckley also sent a text to Ms Ingham's new partner, which included the words: "She is dead kid".

The court heard she tried to fight off her attacker, but was "no match for him".

As she lay dead, he ripped off Ms Ingham's clothes and searched for drugs.

He waited two hours before calling police.

During the trial Buckley claimed Ms Ingham was the aggressor and he was trying to fight her off following the row about drugs.

After the case, Det Insp Alun Oldfield, the senior investigating officer, said: "Today has seen the conviction of Brian Buckley for the brutal murder of young mother of two, Leah Kathryn Ingham.

"This dreadful incident occurred while her two very young children were asleep upstairs in bed, thankfully oblivious to these events.

"The officers who arrived at the address were faced with a traumatic and distressing scene which they dealt with in a professional and sensitive manner."

He added that the real tragedy was not only her murder, but "that her two children have had their loving mother taken away during a brutal, vicious and unprovoked attack by Buckley".

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